Just over two years ago I was asked to write a blog introducing myself as one of two of The Bowes Museum’s first Creative Apprentices.
What followed from that can only be described as a crazy, wonderful whirlwind of amazing experiences and exhibitions, and still now I can’t quite believe what I had the opportunity to be a part of.
Sadly, on October 21st this year, I had to leave as my two year placement came to an end; however I left with a new sense of confidence and direction, as I finally decided that a job within the museum sector was what I wanted.
Fastforward a topsy-turvy few weeks after finishing my Creative Apprenticeship (and one incredibly nerve-wracking interview), I feel very lucky to say that I have been given the opportunity to come back and work in this amazing museum. This time, my new role as Coordinator for the Bouts Public Display and Activity Plan is dedicated to our recent acquisition ‘St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child’, attributed to the Workshop of Dieric Bouts the Elder.
With the help of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and support from York Art Gallery and Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, The Bowes Museum has saved this rare example of work by the 15th Century Flemish artist from leaving the UK. This piece is now stunningly shown within the museum in a small, atmospheric display entitled ‘Image and Substance – St Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child’, which is open until 8th January 2017. To coincide with the acquisition, we will be running a series of events throughout the next year aimed at all age groups, interests and degrees of knowledge – Helping us to learn more about, and celebrate, this incredible painting.
This is where my two years of experience in assisting with exhibition planning will come in handy, as it’s now my job to help with the organisation of our forthcoming events- You can see a list of some of the events on our website here, and we’ll be adding to this over the next few months.
Another part of my role will be to help with the display of the painting in the permanent collection at The Bowes Museum, as well as organising arrangements for when it goes on display in our two partner venues in Bristol and York.
I can’t deny that it has been bit of a learning-curve coming back to the Museum in this new position; moving (slightly) away from Exhibitions and gaining a new level of responsibility has proved to be a bit of a challenge. But if these last two years have taught me one thing, it’s that challenges are what help make the amazing experiences happen – And with any luck, this year will have just as many as the previous two.
By Catherine Dickinson – Coordinator for the Bouts Public Display and Activity Plan